Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Lake House

Shana and I invited a couple of friends to spend the weekend at Lake Eufaula. We were all looking forward to it and it definitely met expectations. We drove out Friday afternoon, getting there in time to appreciate the stunning heat and feast on tacos. Saturday morning we ran all the errands necessary for a weekend at the lake. Diane asked that most classic of questions at the local convenience store: "Do you have worms?". It always makes me laugh uncontrollably - much too personal a question to ask of a stranger! I love the odd inventory and sociability of the local stores.

Then it was on to the flea market to score some floats for the lake. For convenience sake we wanted to get our floats already blown up, but getting them all in the vehicle was more of a problem than we anticipated. We had still to stop for tomatoes and sweet corn. We got a sack of organic sweet corn picked just that morning that was just delicious. Shana cleaned it carefully to get rid of the organic worms.

The rest of the day was spent floating around on the lake scorching our legs in the sun, fishing, reading, and napping. Later we had a game of pool (we stink), a steak dinner and a game of Cranium. Altogether a perfect day. Sunday morning was likewise a study in relaxation and creative idleness. How I wish every summer weekend consisted of four or five such perfect days. Sadly it doesn't, and tomorrow I'll have to go back to work. BooHoo.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Still Perfect

I just got back from having my first heart scan, and I have NO blockage. Yay! Of course this does not mean that my health is perfect in every way, but it is reassuring to know that I am on the right track. Now I just have to schedule my yearly and have my yearly argument with my doctor about Vytorin. He wants me to take it, I think DEATH is more side effect than I am willing to consider. He prescribes it and I don't take it. Maybe armed with my perfect hearth scan and my current nearly vegetarian diet we can come to an arrangement we can both live with.

This weekend we are planning a trip to a house on Lake Eufaula in Eastern Oklahoma. The big plans include lounging around, floating on air mattresses on the lake, and taking a nice long bike ride. We are going to take the dogs with us, which will both simplify and complicate the trip. We will not have to arrange for dog sitting, but will have to consider their comfort and safety. I know Roxy will be just fine, especially with her friend along for company. Skippy has a history of panic when left in a strange place. He tore all the blinds out of a house when he was left alone in an unfamiliar place once (the ONLY time). Therefore we will be staking the dogs outside while we are gone! I am walking the dogs together morning and evening, which makes them both a little calmer and reinforces their bond. I am hoping Skippy will feel relaxed enough to enjoy the trip to the lake with us.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Watch this and please tell me why our elected representatives do not want us the offer the Single Payer or at least Public Option we so obviously need. It does not seem to matter what the insurance companies say, our elected representatives seem to hear only the money, not the people.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Out in the Country

Today we rode out for the 2009 Baptist Children's Home Ride. It's a good ride that we've done for several years. For a $25.00 entry fee you get a T shirt and some other assorted goodies (this year a really cool little flashlight that I am going to put in my bike bag), an entry in several drawings (I won a set of pedals once worth about $60.00), road support including Portapotties, drinks and fruit, and lunch afterwards. It's a full half day of fun at a bargain price. The scenery is beautiful; the company is good, and it's early enough in the season that it's usually not 950 degrees in the shade. Today was windy, but that's life in Oklahoma at all times of the year.

For some reason we always have a terrible time getting there on time. This year was no exception. Shana and I were talking and blew past our exit. This would only be a minor inconvenience except that our exit was the last one before the turnpike - next stop Chickasha 23 miles down the road. Shana had the brilliant idea to get off at the Yukon exit, then turn around and get back on going back towards our exit. The trouble was that you can't get there from here. There is no way to get off there and get right back on. She ended up turning around and noticed that we were now driving into the oncoming lane. Lucky for us at 7:00 Saturday morning there is not any traffic. We finally got going back the right way in the right lane and arrived in time to get registered and take off with our group.

There was an interesting guy riding along on the 27 mile ride at about the same pace as I was. He had a really cool bike that looked a lot like an Electra Townie but lower and longer. After visiting with him off and on for a few miles I asked him where he got his bike. Turns out he built it himself. He's 52 years old and uses this bike for regular commuting in addition to the odd cycling event. Quite a bike, and quite an interesting character. On most of these organized rides the prettiest bikes and jerseys are on the people riding the longest distances, but the unique characters are often doing the shorter rides.

Another rider turned out to be a chef getting ready to open a gourmet taco restaurant AND roaming taco truck. Shana was excited to have a chance to visit with her about it because it's long been one of her dreams to have a taco wagon. She's hoping to be able to come work in the kitchen/wagon a bit to see what it's really like.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Amazing Quickie Hummus

It's Friday and my afternoon errands are looming large. One of my destinations is Sam's Wholesale, where I do not want to be tempted to buy one of everything that appeals. So - I prepare to raid the cupboards for some kind of lunch. I see no leftovers, no soup, no bread, no nothing. But - I do find a can of chickpeas a couple tablespoons of tahini and some crackers, which makes me think I could at least make some hummus. Pickin's are slim in the kitchen so I had to improvise. I found one teeny tiny little clove of garlic and the only olive oil around was infused with habanero peppers. Whirled up with a half teaspoon of cumin, a bit of parsley from Shana's kitchen garden, a squirt of lemon juice, a tablespoon of tahini and a bit of Goya Adobo Seasoning I made some really delicious spicy hummus. Proof that you can never go wrong with hummus. Low fat, healthy and delicious! I've been a hummus-from-a-recipe kind of gal but I think I'm sold on improvisation in future.
And by the way, Goya Adobo Seasoning is the best thing ever for improvisational cooking. It goes with everything and has just the right spicy kick to adsd that certain something to any dish. I like the variety with cumin, but it comes in several styles. Go get some! Right now!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Horsing Around with the Express Clydesdales

My main plan for this weekend was to get a nice bicycle ride in on Saturday morning. There will be some family events later in the weekend and I didn't want to miss out on the good weather if our schedule fills up. Shana and I met up with friends at Lake Overholser and we all went out for a ride. Sharon had to stay close because she's on call this weekend, but Diane and Shana and I went out into the country. Our goal was to ride to the Express Clydesdale barn and come back. It's not a very long ride (about 22 miles round trip) and pretty flat, but we have not done a lot of riding yet this year and it seemed like a manageable goal that would also give us a nice change of scene. I am also very interested in checking out a theory I heard that if a herd of cattle in a field are all looking the same way that will be magnetic north. This route features a representative sample of cattle. So far I'd have to say that theory is crap.

I knew that school groups often visited the Express barn, but I did not know the barn was pretty much open to the public even without making special arrangements. We stopped for a bit to take a look at the facility and the horses. The barn is beautiful and perfectly kept. Outside there are various decorations with a Clydesdale theme - the one that caught my eye was a life sized statue made of horseshoes.

We were able to go inside and visit with the (beautiful) horses through the bars of their stalls. There were a couple of young ladies there taking care of the horses who were very friendly and willing to answer questions about the animals. It was quite a treat for all of us. When we went in it was just us and a mother with two little girls. We could take our time walking around and it was quiet and pleasant. Outside they also have a zebra and a miniature horse, both of whom are apparently very likely to bite. We kept our distance, having little to no interest in being bitten! We got back on our bikes and left just as a birthday party group started to arrive, just in time to "enjoy" a shift in the wind.

In Oklahoma the wind almost always comes from the west, southwest or south in the summer and is strongest in the heat of the day. For most of the routes we like to take we can take advantage of this by planning our ride so that we are heading west early in the day or late in the evening when the wind is not at its strongest. That way we can have the wind at our backs when we are most tired. There's not a lot you can do about the south wind. We were unlucky today. When the wind picked up it was coming from the east at a tremendous speed. I though I was struggling to keep above 12 mph because I and weak and fat (both of which I hope are temporary conditions), but Diane was also struggling with it and she's a strong cyclist. It did trick us into taking on a more strenuous ride than we had intended, which was a good thing.

After lunch we went our separate ways. Our friends were planning to stop by Pro Bike to check out the possibility of scoring some Keen cycling sandals. I needed to stay away so I am not tempted to buy any more cycling stuff this year. I think I have everything I could reasonably need for the season, but there's always something tempting around. I think the cycling sandals are safe from me. While the coolness of sandals is very appealing I'm pretty sure that my tender blister prone feet would not enjoy a day of repetitive motion in sandals without socks however cute they may be.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Where Did all the Egrets Go?

When I first moved to Bethany I lived right around the corner from an egret rookery. The rookery had been there for many years, but as time passed and more people lived in the immediate area the egrets became less of an interesting sight and more of a nuisance. One year a serious effort was made to dislodge them so that the grocery store next door to the rookery could expand. Noise canons and scare eyes were deployed. Some overstimulated hunters thought shooting them was a good idea, until they were told that what was roosting there was not only the common Cattle Egret but also the Great Egret which is the symbol of the Audubon Society and a few other species that were not legal to shoot - leaving aside the little problem of discharge of firearms within city limits. Yahoos. After a couple of years of the combined strategies worked and the birds were gone. Only to appear about a mile south. I drove through the 10th & Council area and here they are apparently thriving.

Miss Vivian came to stay with me this weekend. She is apparently studying at the Ozzie Osborn school of diction, but gets her point across by gestures and steadily increasing volume. She was an angel at church Sunday, though. I can tell you I was relieved! She was happy to meet another baby ( Kim & Susi's adorable nephew) and I was happy to hand her over for a minute, as she was sticking to me like a barnacle on a rock.